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Books to Help Teens Develop a Better Vocabulary

by Laura Roberts, studioD

If your teen is stuck in a rut of adjectives such as “cool” and “awesome," help her broaden her vocabulary to prepare her for the world of college and employment. Use books to reinforce your message about the importance of vocabulary. From visual memorization tricks to analogy practice, vocabulary books for teens help to instill an understanding of the word origins that make up the melting pot of English language.

Vocabulary From Roots

The "Vocabulary from Classical Roots" series, by Nancy Flowers and Norma Fifer, challenges students to think beyond basic definitions. Teens receive the tools to understand where our language came from. Within the series of four books, each one builds on the previous level. Another similar series, “Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots” by Elizabeth Osborne, is published by Prestwick House. Each chapter concentrates on certain Latin words with a list of English words stemming from the roots. The series presents a solid foundation for taking Latin or another of the romantic languages in high school -- or for simply increasing vocabulary for daily speaking and writing.

SAT Vocabulary

Designed as a four-year preparation for SAT tests, “Vocabulary Power Plus for the SAT," by Daniel A. Reed, walks teens through manageable units of words each week. Teens learn the meanings through connotations, fill-in-the-blanks, sentence writing and essay prompts. The series includes optional unit and review tests to check for comprehension. Or broaden your teen's vocabulary horizons with "The Official SAT Study Guide," published by The College Board. In addition to the vocabulary sentence completion sections, teens will benefit from practicing with the critical reading, essay writing and math sections.

Cartoon Vocabulary Books

If your teen is a visual learner, consider a cartoon approach to learning new words. "Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power: Learn Hundreds of SAT Words Fast with Easy Memory Techniques," was authored by Sam Burchers for a teen audience. Burchers uses rhymes and visual mnemonics to help teens remember vocab words and meanings, boasting that readers will learn “a word a minute and you’ll never forget it.” The author provides 290 words with examples such as the picture of a woman standing proudly with a pitchfork next to a tree where farmers hang by their trousers. The cartoon is labeled with the inscription, "To help in her HUSBANDRY chores, Aunt Emma had her own HUSBAND TREE.”

Vocabulary Workshops

Focus on critical thinking, word analogies and word family exercises in a series such as "Vocabulary Workshop" by Jerome Shostak. Each book contains about 300 words based on the amount of use in modern speech. Another cumulative workshop series was published by Rinehart and Winston Holt. Its books, titled "Holt Traditions Vocabulary Workshop (Elements of Language)" present similar exercises with words in context. The series was updated in 2008 and 2009, and progresses from the seventh through 12th grades.


  • Vocabulary from Classical Roots; Nancy Flowers and Norma Fifer
  • Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots; Elizabeth Osborne
  • Vocabulary Power Plus for the SAT; Daniel A. Reed
  • The Official SAT Study Guide; The College Board
  • Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power: Learn Hundreds of SAT Words Fast with Easy Memory Techniques; Sam Burchers
  • Vocabulary Workshop; Jerome Shostak
  • Holt Traditions Vocabulary Workshop: (Elements of Language); Rinehart and Winston Holt

About the Author

As a literature and grammar teacher, Laura Roberts began editing in 2002, gradually expanding her nonfiction writing to include new curriculum units. In 2008, Roberts began publishing her “Ask the Savvy Bride” column connected with her e-commerce wedding store. She holds a bachelor's in English education from Robert Morris University.

Photo Credits

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